What You Should Know About RSS Advertising on JohnChow.com

Jim Fisher runs The Lazy Owner’s Guide To Running A Business. In this post he shares the performance details of his RSS ad on John Chow dot Com. To see the ad, check out the full feed RSS.

I hate free advertising.  I would much rather invest money into campaigns that I can get instant results and that I can measure to see if they provide me a good investment.  So I’ve done several different advertising campaigns for the Lazy Owner.

  • Adwords
  • StumbleUpon
  • Text-Link-Ads

I think that they were all worth trying out as it didn’t cost much money, I got some extra subscribers, and I was able to see what worked, and what didn’t.  When I saw that John was selling advertising space in his RSS feeds, I thought that could be a good investment to experience some of the “John Chow Effect”. 

The main goal of the campaign was to get some additionial RSS subscribers and if I did at least as well as the other campaigns, I would have been happy.  Suprisingly to me, I did much better than I expected.

How I Measured the Advertising Campaign

I’m a big metrics guy.  I think that if you don’t measure it, it’s not worth doing.  I use a rudimentary way to track the success of my campaigns.  I calculate the increase in RSS subscribers during the campaign period and take out the number of subscribers I would get during that period if I didn’t run any advertising.  With that and the cost of the campaign, I have my most important metric – Cost Per Subscriber.

Shoemoney had a post recently about the value of each of his subscribers.  He put it at about $2 per subscriber, so that means that if you can get subscribers at anything less, you’d be leaving money on the table.  In a recent post, I determined that JohnChow.com’s cost per subscriber, based on the number of subscribers and total revenue earned for the blog, was $11.52 per subscriber. 

While I don’t plan to ever reach that number, I think $2 per subscriber is much more realistic.  And with this advertising campaign, I had no problem getting past that threshold.

Cost Per Subscriber

My costs per subscriber were MUCH lower than the other campaigns that I’ve done before:

  • AdWords was 158% more expensive
  • StumbleUpon was 70% more expensive
  • Combined, all other advertising was 112% more expensive

Subscribers Per Day

Not as important but if you’d like to get the most subscribers as soon as you can, I got many more subscribers per day with this form of advertising than with anything else I’d done on a similar scale.  It’s great going into Feedburner every day and seeing a jump double of what you expected:

  • 495% more subscribers per day than with AdWords
  • 294% more subscribers per day than StumbleUpo

Additional Bonuses

Like I said, my main goal was to get more RSS subscribers and based on just that, I was very happy with the campaign.  But there were other benefits that made it even more valuable.  For one, John thanked each of his sponsors and so I got some good traffic and link equity.

  • Overall Traffic (minus past PPC traffic) increased 128%.  Some due to other sources but there was still a nice impact.
  • Technorati ranking increased from 153,346 to 124,330

It Could Have Been Better

One of the mistakes I think I made was directing users right to my feed.  My thought was to induce them into signing up for the RSS feed but I think that the blog had a better presentation and could have done that just the same.  In the future, I would direct them directly to my blog and have a jump page so I can accurately track how many visitors came directly from the ad.

If you have a new blog that you want to grow in popularity, I think this is one of the best ways to spend your advertising dollars.  Or, if you have an established blog and you have pretty good value per subscriber, you should get a good return for that as well.


45 thoughts on “What You Should Know About RSS Advertising on JohnChow.com”

  1. Vlsh says:

    awesome tips. Love your work 😎 you’re an awesome dude

    1. Aibek says:

      I get the feeling you haven’t even read the post

  2. Suzie Cheel says:

    Having been one of your September RSS advertisers, I read this article with great interest. I realise from reading this that I may have been better to have used this advertising to specifically promote
    my regular blog Abundance Highway, rather than a new business I was starting. I think that way I may have increased my subscribers. For me this has not been a very successful exercise so far. I think I will take John up on is offer to advertise on my blog

    1. This is what I commented on zacjohnson.com about it. In his case, it was advertising(125×125) on the blog.

      I’m one of RSS advertiser(1CoolFile.com) and the traffic is not there at all. I paid $200 for about 100 views(some of it is mine 😉 ). The conversion to a sale is 1 even if I have a $500 contest. Plus, it’s for the Blog Directory part of the site, so it’s targeted at bloggers thus John’s many readers.

      The post about the RSS advertisers sent me 22 on the first day. I sent them to a landing page to see results.

      Last week, I added an affiliate program that will make money for bloggers and still no sale. Maybe it was over shadowed by Deal Dot Com and BlogRush. 😉 I also added a FAQ to show that by adding a blog will lead to Paid Reviews with more money to bloggers(my cut is 0% in most cases). I have big plans but I need serious bloggers.

      The month is not finish yet but still… I hope others did better than me. 🙁

      I will make a final post once it’s all over(contest, RSS and other advertising).

  3. Zuggu.com says:

    Hey John I always wondered how much do you spend on advertising each month

    1. Kanute says:

      The only paid ad I have seen done by John is on the Thinking Blog

      1. Googlelady says:

        Are you sure about it?

        1. Shaun C says:

          I can’t see john spending tons of money on ads when he already has billions of links pointing to his site. I could be wrong though. 😛

        2. Kanute says:

          I’m damn sure, its a blog a visit regularly, anyway it cost $29 per month, not much for John

    2. Googlelady says:

      If you check the posts about the income of johnchow you will see how much he advertised with Adwords but anything else he did not mentioned.

  4. Advertsing your RSS feed withing another RSS feed, nice idea.

  5. Gary Jones says:

    Instead of just sending them to your blog why not send them to your top 10 posts. That way they see the best of your blog and will decided to subscribe if they feel the content is applicable.

    1. Good idea. Or maybe one definitive post that sums up your blog well, that also has several deep links to other articles.

  6. Andrew CHo says:

    $11.52 per scriber..insanity!

  7. bloggerado says:

    I am new to this thing. Where exactly to I subscribe to advertise in your feeds?

  8. JoeTech.com says:

    I read every post as soon as I see it in my feed reader. Great stuff.

  9. Traffic coming from John Chow is probably very targeted. Wouldn’t work so much for, I guess, but you never know until you try.

    1. Googlelady says:

      depends on what product/site/service you are offering.

  10. Kanute says:

    wicked, really wicked, no other would ever come up with something like this other than you. Putting ads on RSS 😯

    1. KingJacob says:

      How is that wicked? Feedburner the largest feed aggregator has been serving ads on the feeds of a ton of blogs.

  11. Israel says:

    do you guys think a health blog would benefit from jc’s rss?

    1. Googlelady says:

      Israel, I don’t think so

  12. Interesting stuff, I have not really paid much attention to the RSS so far.

  13. Was this post paid for? 👿

    1. Googlelady says:

      I don’t think so…

    2. KingJacob says:

      Probally not, It was probally done as a joint venture to get Jim more traffic and more publicity so John can continue to sell out his ad spots.

  14. Interesting post – more numbers would be better

  15. I believe that forwarding the traffic to a trendy post under the “make money online” archive would be a good choice. You would conciliate the never ending content (a lot of related posts) that you got on that archive with a very captivating topic. Anyway, those are very good results. Keep on being evil.

  16. Pedro says:

    Hi,
    It´s me again…
    I guess U couldn´t see my comment.. From Brazil
    IS there anyway u we could chat..
    Do u have MSN?
    As if u can help me then, with my template and design stuffs to get better for money and readers as u´ve told..

  17. Derek says:

    I have read on John’s blog to now show the RSS feed past 50 subscribers, what do you guys think of that? I have been having trouble getting subscribers but know the quality content is there. Should I link people directly to the feed? I myself, prefer the blog, but maybe other people are different.

  18. Googlelady says:

    Thanks for the tips

  19. BlogOxide says:

    Great tips! Thanks!

  20. KingJacob says:

    Its not really surprising that feed advertising will convert well into more subscribers especially if the blogs topics are similiar.

  21. I would have liked to have seen more numbers, but still very thought intriguing. Maybe I will try this out.

  22. Etienne Teo says:

    i thought feedburn is not accepting any more monetizing for the new batch of people, not the subscribers but for those who have feedburner and want to monetize them? ❓

  23. Komang says:

    Nice info, thanks

  24. Now is the time to turn the tables…. 😉
    When you talk of increasing the subscriber base and the price for doing so, why not create one of the cheapest solutions ever? Get a “tell a friend” page with lots of ready made templates people could be inspired by, and when they send people to your blog you could run a contest and afterwards you can send me 50$ at my PayPal-account [[email protected]] for coming up with this good idea, and add hundreds if not thousands of truly interested people at a fraction of what the three sources would cost you?
    PS: Make it a hundred dollars since you save so much :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    I’m getting Good at this… Making Chow…. 😀

  25. lyricsreg says:

    I never had any significant results with RSS advertising. But this looks intreaging

  26. It’s interesting to see that not everything works out 100% the way John wants it.

  27. I feel so inadequate with my site now

  28. RSS advertising can be disheartening. Evaluation of the effectiveness is dicey. There can be errors due to cross references to the site. I am however keeping track of John’s progress and shall decide further after a while.

  29. Wahlau.NET says:

    nice to know that it is calculated in this method…..it is still doubtful coz you don’t see the ads physically

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